Aldo dominates Faber in enemy territory at WEC 48

A crowd of over 14,000 fans rocked Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Saturday night to cheer on their hometown hero, Urijah Faber, as he headed to the cage to take on the World Extreme Cagefighting Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo.

All week the buzz has surrounded the city of Sacramento for this fight between Aldo and Faber, the headline bout of WEC 48, which was presented by AMP Energy. The event was the WEC’s first run at putting on a pay-per-view show and Aldo vs. Faber was the biggest fight the promotion could put on.

But just as much as the fans rocked Arco Arena as Faber headed to the cage with “California Love” blasting in the background, was as quiet as the arena got as Aldo picked apart their king in a decisive five-round unanimous decision victory.

“There is no doubt that (Aldo) is one of the best in the world, period,” WEC and UFC President, Dana White, said of the champion after the fight. “That is of all fighters, not just in his weight division. He’s definitely on the pound-for-pound (best fighters) list.”

Aldo came in as the favorite, but the local crowd truly believed in Faber. After all, he has been the city’s rallying cry seeing as their NBA franchise has struggled in recent years. The town even made April 22 “Urijah Faber Day,” earlier in the week. But, early in the first round of Saturday’s fight, it became clear that Faber was out-matched by the younger and faster Aldo.

From the start, Faber struggled to develop his timing in his strikes while Aldo unleashed leg kicks to Faber’s lead left leg. Late in the opening round Faber started to show signs of ware in the leg, and it only got worse as time passed.

“I have strong kicks and I have strong punches and once they started landing, I just went with it,” Aldo said. “My kicks and my strikes are always part of my strategy in any fight.”

Aldo continued to focus on the injured body part and with each blow, Faber’s ability to put weight on the leg decreased and his explosion for takedown attempts quickly became void. Fans watched as their hero became helpless. By the end of the third round, Faber had to be carried to his stool by his coach just to avoid putting weight on the leg.

During the fourth round, Faber found himself trapped on the ground with Aldo on top. Faber was in the dreaded crucifix position where both his arms were trapped, while Aldo poured on elbows and punches for over 90 seconds before the bell sounded.

The final round was anticlimactic as Faber couldn’t mount an offense and Aldo seemed to want to no longer do damage to his opponent. Either that, or he was simply displaying he could do whatever he wanted to do. In the end, Aldo had his hand raised while Faber was taken to the hospital to have his leg checked.

“Every time I step into the cage my goal is to win and finish fights. One part of me is very happy that I won the fight and the other part of me is very sad that my opponent had to go to the hospital,” Aldo said.

The sight of Sacramento’s favorite son being carried out of Arco Arena in a stretcher was symbolic of the devastation the Aldo caused the city and the cloud of doubt that now surrounds the former champion’s career after having lost three of his last five fights, all of which were for the title.

“Urijah is still one of the best in the world in that weight division. Jose just completely shut him down (Saturday night),” White said. “I don’t think Urijah is going to go anywhere. I think he is going to be around for a while.”

The Aldo vs. Faber fight was just one of many during the night. In the co-main event, WEC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson made short work of his opponent, Donald Cerrone, submitting him with a guillotine choke at 1:57 of the first round. The bout was a rematch of a five-round classic from last October in which Henderson won a close decision. This time around, the champion left no doubt as to who the better fighter was.

“I heard a lot of talk from the critics about which way the decision went last time so this time I wanted to finish,” said Henderson, who earned $65,000 for Submission of the Night. “If I had to run through a brick wall to finish the fight, I was going to do it.”

In the biggest upset of the night, Manny Gamburyan scored a TKO win over former WEC Featherweight champion, Mike Brown at 2:22 of the first round. Brown struggled to get Gamburyan’s timing down in the opening minutes before Gamburyan caught him with a right hook in an exchange that dropped him. Gamburyan then quickly pounced on Brown with hammer fists to earn the stoppage and likely make him the No. 1 contender for to Aldo’s belt.

“Jose is a true champion and I respect him a lot but one day, I would like to fight him,” said Gamburyan, who won Knockout of the Night honors for another $65,000 bonus. “I feel like I’m the No. 1 contender in the division, but I’ll fight anyone that the WEC puts in front of me.”

Shane Roller had an impressive win over Anthony Njokuani during the main card. Roller quickly took down the longer Njokuani before he could land a strike and progressed into a dominant position over the next few minutes before securing a rear-naked choke for the win at 3:07 of the first round.

Scott Jorgensen and Antonio Banuelos opened the main card on PPV with Jorgensen earning a unanimous decision win. Banuelos controlled the first round with his striking, but Jorgensen turned it up in the final two rounds, breaking Banuelos’ nose with his punches and knees. As Banuelos tired, Jorgensen took over and decisively won the final two rounds for the victory.

The undercard featured six solid bouts, highlighted by an absolute slugfest between featherweights Leonard Garcia and Chan Sung Jung. For 15 minutes, the two exchanged blows to a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Everything came together for us and these two went out and showed what the lighter weights can do,” White said. “You couldn’t have picked a better fight to lead into the pay-per-view. These two are definitely the (Stephan) Bonner-(Forrest) Griffin of the lighter weight division. There is no doubt about it. It was awesome.”

In the opening round, Jung caught Garcia with some big blows, but Garcia kept pushing forward and throwing everything he had in him.

The trend continued into the second round with Garcia throwing caution to the wind and catching Jung with some big punches. Jung answered back, even knocking out Garcia’s mouth piece at one point, but neither could be put away. Garcia actually broke his hand during the round, but it didn’t keep him from throwing bombs.

In the third, both men were clearly fatigued but still threw everything they had left. The round was close, but the aggression and crowd appeal of Garcia seemed to win over the judges as he was given a split decision.

“I would love to have a fight like that every month,” Garcia said of the bout. “I knew we would have an exciting fight and there was no quit in him and no quit in me.”

Jung collapsed in disappointment following the loss, but a $65,000 bonus check for Fight of the Night honors was enough to raise his spirits.

“I think Leonard Garcia is a great athlete and I was really glad to fight him,” Jung said. “Right after the fight, I felt like I won. I haven’t seen the tape and we can’t turn back time, so I accept the decision.”

In another undercard bout, hometown boy Chad Mendes defeated Anthony Morrison with a guillotine choke at 2:13 into the opening round. Mendes, who is sponsored by AMP Energy along with Faber, celebrated the win with a back flip in the cage.

“For the last two weeks all I kept going over was the front-headlock guillotine,” Mendes said. “The crowd was unbelievable. I mean I knew they were going to be crazy before but that was awesome.”

WEC 48 capped off a big weekend for the organization and for AMP Energy, which heavily promoted the event in Sacramento in hopes to create more awareness of the WEC promotion as well as the AMP Energy product.

We would like to thank AMP for providing us with access to the AMP Energy fighters and the PPV event over the weekend.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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